During the 14th South Asia Economic Summit (SAEC) held in Dhaka, experts discussed the challenges faced by South Asian countries. The region, like the rest of the world, is grappling with a strong dollar depreciating its currencies, post-COVID inflation, the Russia-Ukraine war, and climate change, which can lead to high inflation. Some experts believe that a unified currency could be a solution, but due to economic and political reasons, including a lack of trust among South Asian countries, this remains unfeasible.
Economists emphasized the need for increased trust and free cross-border trade within the region to boost economic prosperity. They recognized the prevalence of bilateral trade and the importance of closer regional interaction. While a common currency is not currently suitable for South Asia, greater economic integration could incentivize monetary cooperation.
Speakers at the summit discussed the need for effective utilization of existing regional financial cooperation frameworks and emphasized reducing trade and non-trade barriers. Jatiya Sangsad Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chawdhury urged private sector investment to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), addressing a $4 trillion investment gap in achieving global SDG commitments by 2030.
The event also explored issues such as climate negotiations and technology transfer, as well as the strategic positioning of smaller South Asian economies in the face of changing economic and strategic alliances. Various speakers, including ambassadors, central bank governors, and experts from South Asian countries, participated in the discussions during the summit.